Fate of phosphorus in dairy wastewater and poultry litter applied on grassland. Academic Article uri icon


  • Large and repeated manure applications can exceed the P sorption capacity of soil and increase P leaching and losses through subsurface drainage. The objective of this study was to evaluate the fate of P applied with increasing N rates in dairy wastewater or poultry litter on grassland during a 4-yr period. In addition to P recovery in forage, soil-test phosphorus (STP) was monitored at depths to 180 cm in a Darco loamy sand (loamy, siliceous, semiactive, thermic Grossarenic Paleudults) twice annually. A split-plot arrangement of a randomized complete block design comprised four annual N rates (0, 250, 500, and 1000 kg ha(-1)) for each nutrient source on coastal bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] over-seeded with ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L. cv. TAM90). Increasing annual rates of N and P in wastewater and poultry litter increased P removal in forage (P = 0.001). At the highest N rate of each nutrient source, less than 13% of applied P was recovered in forage. The highest N rates delivered 8 times more P in wastewater or 15 times more P in poultry litter than was removed in forage harvests during an average year. Compared with controls, annual P rates up to 188 kg ha(-1) in dairy wastewater did not increase STP concentrations at depths below 30 cm. In contrast, the highest annual P rate (590 kg ha(-1)) in poultry litter increased STP above that of controls at depth intervals to 120 cm during the first year of sampling. Increases in STP at depths below 30 cm in the Darco soil were indicative of excessive P rates that could contribute to nonpoint-source pollution in outflows from subsoil through subsurface drainage.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Qual

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnson, A. F., Vietor, D. M., Rouquette, F. M., & Haby, V. A.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Johnson, AF||Vietor, DM||Rouquette, FM||Haby, VA

publication date

  • March 2004